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Atty. Evillo C. Pormento v. Joseph Ejercito "Erap" Estrada and Comelec, G.R. No.

191988, August 31, 2010

RESOLUTION
CORONA, C.J.: I. THE FACTS Private respondent Joseph Erap Ejercito Estrada was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines in the general elections held on May 11, 1998. He was however ousted [resigned according to the decision of the Supreme Court in Estrada vs. Arroyo, G.R. No. 146738, March 2, 2001] from office and was not able to finish his term. He sought the presidency again in the general elections held on May 10, 2010. Petitioner Atty. Evillo C. Pormento opposed Eraps candidacy and filed a petition for the latters disqualification, which was however denied by the COMELEC 2nd Division. His motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the COMELEC en banc. Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari on May 7, 2010. However, under the Rules of Court, the filing of such petition would not stay the execution of the judgment, final order or resolution of the COMELEC that is sought to be reviewed. Besides, petitioner did not even pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction. Hence, private respondent was able to participate as a candidate for the position of President in the May 10, 2010 elections where he garnered the second highest number of votes. II. THE ISSUE What is the proper interpretation of the following provision of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution: [t]he President shall not be eligible for any re-election? III. THE RULING [The petition was DENIED DUE COURSE and thereby DISMISSED by the Supreme Court.] Private respondent was not elected President the second time he ran [in the May 2010 elections]. Since the issue on the proper interpretation of the phrase any reelection will be premised on a persons second (whether immediate or not) election as President, there is no case or controversy to be resolved in this case. No live conflict of legal rights exists. There is in this case no definite, concrete, real or substantial controversy that touches on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. No specific relief may conclusively be decreed upon by this Court in this case that will benefit any of the parties herein. As such, one of the essential requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review, the existence of an actual case or controversy, is sorely lacking in this case. As a rule, this Court may only adjudicate actual, ongoing controversies. The Court is not empowered to decide moot questions or abstract propositions, or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the result as to the thing in issue in the case before it. In other words, when a case is moot, it becomes non-justiciable. An action is considered moot when it no longer presents a justiciable controversy because the issues involved have become academic or dead or when the matter in dispute has already been resolved and hence, one is not entitled to judicial intervention unless the issue is likely to be raised

again between the parties. There is nothing for the court to resolve as the determination thereof has been overtaken by subsequent events. Assuming an actual case or controversy existed prior to the proclamation of a President who has been duly elected in the May 10, 2010 elections, the same is no longer true today. Following the results of that elections, private respondent was not elected President for the second time. Thus, any discussion of his reelection will simply be hypothetical and speculative. It will serve no useful or practical purpose.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 191988 August 31, 2010

ATTY. EVILLO C. PORMENTO, Petitioner, vs. JOSEPH "ERAP" EJERCITO ESTRADA and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents. RESOLUTION CORONA, C.J.: What is the proper interpretation of the following provision of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution: "[t]he President shall not be eligible for any reelection?" The novelty and complexity of the constitutional issue involved in this case present a temptation that magistrates, lawyers, legal scholars and law students alike would find hard to resist. However, prudence dictates that this Court exercise judicial restraint where the issue before it has already been mooted by subsequent events. More importantly, the constitutional requirement of the existence of a "case" or an "actual controversy" for the proper exercise of the power of judicial review constrains us to refuse the allure of making a grand pronouncement that, in the end, will amount to nothing but a non-binding opinion. The petition asks whether private respondent Joseph Ejercito Estrada is covered by the ban on the President from "any reelection." Private respondent was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines in the general elections held on May 11, 1998. He sought the presidency again in the general elections held on May 10, 2010. Petitioner Atty. Evillo C. Pormento opposed private respondents candidacy and filed a petition for disqualification. However, his petition was denied by the Second Division of public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC).1 His motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the COMELEC en banc.2 Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari3 on May 7, 2010. However, under the Rules of Court, the filing of such petition would not stay the execution of the judgment, final order or resolution of the COMELEC that is sought to be reviewed.4 Besides, petitioner did not even pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction. Hence, private respondent was able to participate as a candidate for the position of President in the May 10, 2010 elections where he garnered the second highest number of votes.5
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Private respondent was not elected President the second time he ran. Since the issue on the proper interpretation of the phrase "any reelection" will be premised on a persons second (whether immediate or not) election as President, there is no case or controversy to be resolved in this case. No live conflict of legal rights exists.6 There is in this case no definite, concrete, real or substantial controversy that touches on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests.7 No specific relief may conclusively be decreed upon by this Court in this case that will benefit any of the parties herein.8 As such, one of the essential requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review, the existence of an actual case or controversy, is sorely lacking in this case.

As a rule, this Court may only adjudicate actual, ongoing controversies.9 The Court is not empowered to decide moot questions or abstract propositions, or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the result as to the thing in issue in the case before it.10 In other words, when a case is moot, it becomes non-justiciable.11 An action is considered "moot" when it no longer presents a justiciable controversy because the issues involved have become academic or dead or when the matter in dispute has already been resolved and hence, one is not entitled to judicial intervention unless the issue is likely to be raised again between the parties. There is nothing for the court to resolve as the determination thereof has been overtaken by subsequent events.12 Assuming an actual case or controversy existed prior to the proclamation of a President who has been duly elected in the May 10, 2010 elections, the same is no longer true today. Following the results of that elections, private respondent was not elected President for the second time. Thus, any discussion of his "reelection" will simply be hypothetical and speculative. It will serve no useful or practical purpose. Accordingly, the petition is denied due course and is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED. RENATO C. CORONA Chief Justice WE CONCUR: ANTONIO T. CARPIO Associate Justice PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. Associate Justice TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice (On Official Leave) DIOSDADO M. PERALTA** Associate Justice LUCAS P. BERSAMIN Associate Justice MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA Associate Justice (On Leave) ARTURO D. BRION* Associate Justice MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO Associate Justice ROBERTO A. ABAD Associate Justice JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ Associate Justice MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court. RENATO C. CORONA Chief Justice